Can you calculate in your head: 4,868 squared? Harvey Mudd College's Professor of Mathematics Arthur Benjamin can. And he tries to beat the calculator.
For years, the U.S. has lagged behind other countries in math and science. A 2009 study showed that American students ranked 25th among 34 countries, behind nations like China, Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Finland. A study released last month has a breakdown of the best and worst states for science and math education in high schools. Massachusetts tops the list while Mississippi trails as the worst in the country.
Perhaps we need more self-proclaimed math magicians like Benjamin in our schools? Watch as the professor, also author of Secrets of Mental Math, works his mental math magic and teaches his class: